First, we're going to answer
WHAT IS MERLIN?
You've heard of the Legend of King Arthur, yes? Well, much like Smallville, BBC has taken these iconic characters that have been brought to life in countless ways and chronicled the early years of members of myth you will no doubt recognize. This is the story of a boy with a secret and a destiny larger than most. It's about boyhood friends who—through many a trial—shape the united kingdoms of a world broken apart by hatred, corruption, and fear by relying on their friendship, the guidance of those wiser than them, and the love of those who mean to stay by them.
On the one hand, you have a servant boy who must accept his destiny and learn the meaning of duty. On the other, you have a prince who must learn what it is to be a king. And they won't get it right; they will make mistakes, they will fight, and these things shape them. To the point where they learn to differentiate friend from foe, the meaning of sacrifice, and value each other more than they ever thought they would. It's the story of two brothers, friends, halves that will build a world shed of darkness.
This show will give you
Merlin and Arthur have no idea what's coming to them, what they'll be later on and how entwined their destinies are. At first, they're these immature teenagers who have no concept of what they'll be to each other. On the day of their meeting, Merlin intervenes on behalf of a poor servant being tormented by a bully prince. "You've had your fun, my friend," Merlin tells him. And after Arthur inquires about his use of the word friend when they're strangers, it prompts Merlin to say, "My mistake... I could never be friends with such an arse." And therein starts are epic bromance, though neither of them know it. When Arthur asks him if he knows how to walk on his knees thereafter, my fate was irrevocably SEALED. There would be no going back.
But, that's not ALL the bromance there is to be had. Oh, no, no, my fellow human folk. Do you know what the Knights of the Round Table are? Or who they are?
"They're Knights of the Round Table. It's a bond we share."
The Code of the Knights of Camelot requires you to be of noble blood from one of the royal houses loyal to Camelot, to ensure that loyalty would never be tested and the honor they perpetuate never die. Stupid ol' Uther, a king more concerned with pedigree than with heart. These knights, Arthur's knights, are hand-picked to be brought into his fold because they are truly noblest of the noble, regardless of what family they're from. Left to right, we have Elyan, Gwaine, Lancelot, Arthur, Leon, and Percival, some of the best men, fictional or otherwise, I've ever known.
Then there is
WISDOM FROM THE ANCIENTS
Ladies and bros, I made a goddamn #Gaius t-shirt. Behold:
Gaius is an accomplished physician of the court, a trusted ally and member of the council. He is also an ex-sorceror, closet BAMF, and the father of Merlin's heart. He's a shrewd old man with a fabulous sense of humor, and he's soft on Merlin, capable of the patience it takes to guide not just a maturing boy but a young sorceror who will be the greatest the world has ever known. He's Merlin's guardian, his disciplinarian and his friend, his father and his mentor. And he has some of the best, most-well said quotes of the ENTIRE SHOW, hence the t-shirt.
An ode to the wisest known human in the Merlin-verse.
Now for the wisest known magical creature...
We have a fucking Great Dragon in this show. He's mythical, he's bad ass, and he can see the future. You can oftentimes find him sleeping in his prison, listening to Merlin's problems and helping him fix them, or passing down his prophecies. He's ancient and the last of his kind, and treats Merlin with deference and respect and Merlin gives him the same. And John Hurt, his voice actor, is an EXCELLENT narrator.
Now of course you have to have
"Just as Arthur needs Merlin’s guidance and friendship, Arthur also needs Gwen’s love — for she makes him want to be a better man, not just a great king." Some of the best romances are the ones that take so much time and is built upon so many layers that the love overwhelms. Especially when you know who the romance will entail, because you're anxiously waiting for it to happen already. But one of the best parts of the show is watching Guinevere and Arthur become friends through Merlin, and when the time is right, seeing Arthur finally pay attention to this gracious, wise, strong-willed servant girl. There are so many firsts—nerves, talks, hugs, kisses, dates, hurts. This romance spans ten years and it grows and roots and deepens, and Arthur is better for her.
Their love has been forbidden, struck, broken, and celebrated all through the course of the show, and because he loves them so much, no one is the romance's biggest advocate then Merlin himself. The blacksmith's daughter and the prince of Camelot. He's arrogant, rude, a brute and she's discerning, wise, and wholly good. So unlikely a pair.
But together? They make one of the finest couples I've had the privilege of fangirling for.
And Merlin brings you an excellent array of
From the revenge-seeking High Priestess Nimueh to the unsuspected Druid boy Mordred, you'll constantly be surprised by the depth of the hatred and greed portrayed by these villains. They have one reason or another to act as they do, but some of them were once allies, and it's a knife in the heart to betray the people of this show who loved them and whom you love in turn, and it's impossible for you to save them.
Let other fans tell you
WHAT MERLIN IS
Once you go into it, you can't back away from it. It's a show that means so much, and tells a tale that needs to be told using characters that have survived the ages in myth and legend. By the end, you have to wonder if there ever was a great leader like Arthur, who was more than fortunate to have obtained the devotion of the most powerful warlock in the world and the greatest friend he'll ever know.
Trust me, it's so much more than you can possibly imagine.